New media strategy sparks new hope in Somalia

15 december, 2015

Right now there is no strategic plan or jurisdiction for media. Abukar Albadri explains that as a result the international community cannot assist with a full mandate in Somalia. The reforms planned to be implemented from January will help the independent and state media in Somalia to get comprehensive support from the international community.

Fojo and IMS assisted the Somali Minister of Information, Mohamed Abdi Hayir, to bring together State ministers for information, media house directors, media association representatives and other industry influentials in a national conference on media development to discuss the content of the national strategy. The conference aimed to collect input on the new strategy and was held in Mogadishu on 24-25th of November.

A second conference will be arranged on the 11-13th of January. Until then international media experts provided by Fojo/IMS will have brought forth a draft of a national strategy for media. The media experts have gathered opinions from media influentials as well as made visits to key strategic regions of Somalia. Ideally the new document will be signed during the second conference.

The Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has expressed his will to see a free and fair election throughout Somalia in 2016, but the imminent threat from international terrorist groups and the unstable national security are putting the safe election process at risk.

Radio Shabelle technician Photo Tobin JonesA studio technician at Radio Shabelle works to prepare a show for broadcast. Photo: AU-UN ist/Tobin JonesThe short-term impact of the national media strategy is expected to reduce the risk of freedom of expression violations and create a more safe environment for journalists, especially through next years election period, through elaborate guidelines for political coverage.

In long term the strategic plan will help media develop in many fields. Somali media faces many challenges when it comes to technical equipment, professional experience and education. The strategic plan will help the national media to get assistance from the international community with updating equipment and initiating training sessions.

During the conference in November the minister Mohammed Abdi Hayir said he was very grateful towards the media development organizations presently active in Somalia, Specially Fojo/IMS with the assistance in creating the national media strategy.

The IMS/Fojo program started massive capacity building activities with the key partners NETWORK2013 and SIMHA, two associations representing the media operators in Somalia, as well as National Union of Somalia Journalists – NUSOJ, the trade union association of the journalists.

The ongoing institutional capacity building programs will aim the key partner associations to reach a level of capacity that they can carry out projects that help media freedom, media independence and professional quality of the Somalia media, which both Fojo and IMS are focusing on for the coming 3 years.

Björn Widmark

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